Sunday, April 09, 2006

changing tradition

I was a lector at mass tonight. It's Palm Sunday. the mass begins with blessing of palms and then a procession into church. Then there is a very long reading of the passion of Our Lord. It is about 6 -7 pages of reading, and it's read in parts. This year I was narrator (the part marked N in the reading)

The palm distribution used to be done differently, and more reverantly. We had been instructed, in the old days of Pope Pius XII, that the palms when blessed were sacramentals - that is blessed reminders of the passion of Our Lord. So when we received them they were to be treated with reverance.

We were also to destroy the old palm, which should have been displayed near another sacred object, since last year. We used to have to make a ceremony of it all, making sure the old palms were burned at home in a reverant manner and then disposed of in some way more dignified than having the ashes dumped in the trash cans.

My mother and grandmother even covered their heads and said a solemn prayer as they burned old palms. But not anymore. They are trashed like a discarded cereal box, or wrapping from a package of pre-sliced individually wrapped cheese.

No wonder Catholic children have no sense of sacred things any more. It's neither taught or expected.

Sometimes, I think we should bring the traditions back.

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